Paul Cook is looking to bring “sanity” back to Ipswich after his first game as manager ended in a 3-1 Sky Bet League One defeat at Gillingham.
Vadaine Oliver’s second-half double orchestrated a disappointing beginning for Cook after Jack Tucker had struck early at Priestfield.
Luke Chambers had got Ipswich back on terms, and while their three-match winning run ended, the manager feels he has seen plenty to remain optimistic.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, there is potential with these players,” said Cook, who replaced Paul Lambert as boss this week.
“Like any club, you can have a bad day and when that happens everything looks really bad.
“The most important thing is that the next day becomes a good one. I’ve been in the building for a couple of days now and I’m learning all the time.
“We know that we’ve got to get out of this league.
“In two years we’ve seen a big turnaround in players, people coming in and out of the club in too quick a time, so we need to bring some sanity to the club.”
The hosts took an early lead when Tucker volleyed home his first league goal after Robbie Cundy had diverted Tom O’Connor’s free-kick into his path.
An unmarked Olly Lee should have doubled the lead on 63 minutes when he met Ryan Jackson’s throw but headed straight at former Gills goalkeeper Tomas Holy.
That miss looked like proving costly two minutes later when Chambers looped his header from Josh Harrop’s free-kick over goalkeeper Jack Bonham to equalise with Town’s first attempt on target.
The hosts retook the lead when Oliver capped a brilliant counter-attack to meet Kyle Dempsey’s cross and fire past Holy.
Oliver then wrapped up Gillingham’s victory with a stunning curling effort 10 minutes from time.
Cook continued: “It was always going to be a difficult game. You’ll never leave Gillingham and you’ll never leave playing a Steve Evans team without having to earn the right to win a football match.
“Gillingham were the better side today and I felt that, aside from a 10-minute spell after we equalised, that we were never in this.”
The home side were good value for their win, with Oliver in particular impressing to move to four goals in three games.
“He’s a great lad, he gives us a real focal point,” said Gills assistant manager Paul Raynor. “I wouldn’t like to play against him if I’m a centre-half in League One.
“They all know they’re in for tough afternoons when they come up against him. He’s added goals to his game – he’s becoming a real threat now.
“He’s eager to learn and he’s taking his chances. They were two great finishes from him today. I’m delighted for him.
“I thought we were absolutely magnificent. We knew that Ipswich’s players would be eager to impress but we didn’t allow them to impose their game on us.
“But it was all about us, the quality that we produced and the three goals were absolutely magnificent.”